I’m worn out. Trying to keep up with *45 and every ludicrous policy that comes out of his mouth or his stubby little fingers is exhausting. Then add to that his army of evil minions and the greedy, power hungry Republicans in the legislature that would sell not only their souls but their first born to maintain power, and we liberals are starting to feel like we’re swimming upstream with a tractor tire tied to our legs. And they just keep adding to that weight. From nominees that have numerous conflicts of interest and Republican attempts to hide them by limiting the confirmation process, to immigration bans on Muslims, pulling funding from women’s health programs, Russian hacking, *45’s tax returns, violations of Emoluments Clause, pay for play schemes and…and…ughhhh! I need a Valium and a latte.
It’s almost as if they planned it this way. Hmmmm? What to do. What to do.
When I remove my emotions, my anxiety from the onslaught, I see one thing. Regardless of what the opposition is doing, we are being forced into a defensive, reactionary position. This is not a good place to be in since it inhibits action and growth. When you are in this position, all of your energy goes to trying to hold the line. Nothing is left over for a proactive, forward thinking strategy.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a need to work the defensive line. We have to have a defense. Marching for women’s rights and immigrant rights is fundamental to who we are as Democrats, liberals and progressives. It is vital to loudly address the blatant abuse of power we find ourselves in today. Protesting is an American right. It is the one thing politicians are forced to listen to. Consistent, vocal and demonstrative protests force action. Republicans can pass all the laws they want and hide in their offices disconnecting their phones, but they cannot stop the protests. They cannot stop thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of protesters. Let them try. And when their jails are full, they’ll be thousands more to take their place. Besides, being arrested for protesting is on my bucket list anyhow.
But like any decent sports team, we have to develop an offensive strategy as well. Plus, marching and protesting isn’t everyone’s bag of chips. Some are afraid to protest publicly, and rightly so. We are just steps away from local police becoming immigration agents. If you are not white, public protesting can have a significant risk. Yes it is racist and wrong, but that is the fact of where we are in this country right now.
If you find being on defense all the time too stressful, join the offense. It might not be as sexy as marching with thousands of people, but it is equally if not more important. This is the grunt work that takes dedication and commitment.
The number one most important task for our offensive strategy has to be voting. Nothing will change if we don’t regain control of at least one of the legislative houses. Ideally of course we want both. We must hold our currently elected officials responsible for maintaining a defensive position in regards to new voting restrictions. Any and all laws regarding voting rights put forward by Republicans will be met with a strong, united Democratic front.
The second part of the plan, the offensive part, involves getting Democrats out to actually vote. Since Republicans have rigged the system to disenfranchise our base, we have to construct a plan that works within their regulations. It is the Democratic Party’s responsibility, their mandate, to invest in a plan to make this happen. Districts where disenfranchisement has occurred must be identified. This is more than just sitting at the mall registering voters. Many of these districts, thanks to Republicans, only allow voters to register one day out of the month at a facility that is hundreds of miles away. Add to that ridiculous requirements of multiple forms of identification and other obstacles, and many voters just cannot make registration happen.
I am reminded of how civil rights workers ensured that African Americans were registered to vote in the south during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Today is no different. They worked within the system as it were and so will we today. Starting now, not next year, Democrats have to start organizing to get these people registered to vote. This means volunteers educated in what the registration requirements are for that state, and they must in turn inform voters of said requirements. A combination of using voter rolls and going door to door will identify those in need of assistance. Should voters not be able to get to the registrar of voters, the party will be required to provide assistance. I imagine a volunteer driving a van of those prospective voters on that one day out of the month. If a state law requires a state ID to register to vote and the voter cannot afford the fee, it could be paid for by donations from party members.
The Democratic Party must also develop a plan in regards to Republicans stripping liberal leaning districts of voting polls and actual voting machines. Legislatively our leaders must start putting forth two bills in regards to these blatantly prejudicial laws:
- A federal law requiring districts maintain a predetermined amount of polls and working machines per the percentage of voters within those districts is mandatory.
- A federal law is needed stating that any registered voter in line before posted closing hours is allowed to vote.
I realize these are not likely to pass the current Congress. However, I believe in the strategy of submitting bills regardless of their likelihood of passing. This will inform the American voters what exactly the Democratic Party stands for. It will also show them that the Republican Party does not want Americans to vote. Start calling and visiting your representatives and local Democratic Party office. Demand that they start submitting these two bills.
On election day 2018, “follow through” is the name of the game. Volunteers and organizers must be prepared to get people to the polls even if that means driving them there. They must also have a team in place at polling sites in these troubled, Republican manipulated districts. Any and all reports of voter disenfranchisement must be documented.
Go to your local Democratic Party office an volunteer to register voters.
Once we win back the legislature, we can begin the offensive strategy to undo all the damage *45 and the Republicans have done.